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From: "Greg Neyman" <Greg.Neyman@gte.net>
Subject: (whorl) don't drink the water? don't eat the berries!!
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 00:53:44 

>While I find the probability-based arguments for the existence of
>biospheres on other planets to be fairly plausible, I see no reason to
>expect that their life-chemistry will be in any way compatible with ours.

you make a good point, Robert ... I don't know how it relates to robot
rights, but ...

chances are that complex organic chemicals will be INCOMPATIBLE between
planets ... if anyone has read Clarke's 2061, there was this scene where a
giant fish on nearby Europa ate the carcass of a human ... 2 minuets later,
it surfaced, vomited the carcass, thrashed around, and died ... chemical
incompatibility to the toxic extreme.

but the basic nutrients will be there, stuff life amino acids and simple
lipids ... there was this experiment conducted a few years ago ... a student
created a proto-earth-like environment in a class tube ... methane/ammonia
rich air ... UV and electrical (lightning) bombardment ... the next morning,
he had simple organic chemical chains dripping from the electrodes ...
chemicals that were compatible with earth life.  further repeats yielded the
EXACT same chemical yield ... assuming a habitable world would be the third
or fourth rock out from a G type star (that's Sol's classification, right?
or am I getting things screwed up again?) ... it would probably undergo
similar formation/evolution, and have the same proto-environment ... that
means ... the basic organic chemicals generated would be compatible with
human processes ... all we'd have to do is seed the planet with organisms
that would feed on those chemicals in the environment ... or heck ... humans
can live on those chemicals alone ... it wouldn't be the most culinarily
fulfilling life, but we'd live ... just don't eat the alien berries ...

no wait ... I have some ramble left in me yet ... Michael ... I don't see
why terraforming robots necessarily need to be self aware ... anymore so
than the pathfinder probe that's rusting on mars right now is "self-aware"
... the path finder probe was limitedly self-aware ... it knew it was the
thing that was to respond to all instructions from earth ... and that's all
the terraforming robots need to know ... they're the agents that will be
enacting all implanted commands ... they maybe very complex commands, ones
that demand a very sophisticated AI, but that doesn't necessarily demand

until we meet again ... hat

    /\/\     Greg Neyman               Greg.Neyman@gte.net
___/____\___      http://home1.gte.net/web100to/
  |HE  HA|

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